NFL Betting Predictions: Week 3 Opening Line Report and Picks
This past Sunday was not a great day for low-level starting quarterbacks in the NFL. While Derek Carr continued to fuel the argument for him to be considered a Top 5 quarterback in the NFL leading the Las Vegas Raiders to another win, we saw several other gunslingers succumb to injury.
Sophomore Dolphin Tua Tagovailoa, Andy Dalton of the Chicago Bears, Indanapolis Colt Carson Wentz, and sadly, even my old classmate Tyrod Taylor, did what NFL players do sometimes, get injured.
It is still early in the week, of course, but should we target some of these injured or potentially ruled out of the game quarterbacks? I don’t think it is a bad idea at all, but I also have my eye on some other spots to take advantage of before we get too much line movement as the week progresses.
Let’s take a look at some of these early targets and make some picks as well!
Doc’s Sports offers NFL picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Las Vegas Raiders vs Miami Dolphins (-4, 45.5)
The Raiders have been incredibly impressive, albeit over just 2 weeks, but are you not entertained? BMX legend, MTV host, and Las Vegas native TJ Lavin was in attendance Week 1 when they beat the Ravens in overtime, and he said that it was the greatest game he had ever seen.
You would think that the Raiders (Chris Berman voice) would have had a letdown on Sunday when they traveled to Pittsburgh and faced not only a strong Steeler team but one of the most dedicated fan bases back in full force for the first time in what freaking feels like forever.
What happened, though? The 6-point underdog Silver and Black won by 9. Now, they are back home in the desert awaiting the Miami Dolphins to shock their liquidated lungs with some dry Mojave Desert air, and Carr is going to drop at least one deep ball dime over the top of that defense for a touchdown.
The Miami Dolphins have defended the pass pretty well this year, allowing opposing quarterbacks to rack up around 6 yards per attempt. They just got beat 35 to zip, though, at home, and their starting QB is either playing with a tender rib or they will be left with more Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett is limited in his abilities, which allows defenses to close in on him. This, of course, limits the play calling of the head coach, and that is a big reason why he wasn’t able to lead his team to one point on 40 pass attempts last week.
The Raiders haven't been able to run the ball this year at all, but their two opponents have been the Steelers and the Ravens, and it should be noted that neither of those teams was able to stop Carr and Vegas from attacking effectively through the air.
Miami, unlike the AFC North teams above, has a porous run defense, so I can definitely see the Raiders having more success running the ball than they have to start the season. Neither team has defended the run very well either, so this one should come down to the passing game.
That is where LV has one of the hottest guys in the league, and the man has targets all over the place. I think Miami might expect the Raiders to pass first to open up the run, and LV is going to surprise them with some early ground and pound.
You like that? I’m an MMA guy. I can’t help it.
What is the spread for this game, anyway?
I like the moneyline, to be straight with you, but the Raiders are so explosive, I think 4 points is doable.
The Raiders are (-4), and Miami will be getting 4. Las Vegas's inability to run the ball so far this year is what is keeping this line down. The books think that they won't be able to milk much of the clock down the stretch with their style of play.
There is also the fact that they should have been hungover this past Sunday, so it could happen this week, too, but I am not letting that affect my capping.
Maybe the Raiders will be able to run the ball and milk the fourth quarter clock, and maybe they won’t but here’s the thing; Miami will be very limited with Brissett, and his style of quarterbacking lends itself to a lot of time consumed and not many points scored.
This is evidenced by the 35-0, 40 pass attempts and only 170 yards gained performance from Jacoby last week. If Tua plays, then that’s okay too. Carr is playing out of his mind right now.
Parlay Las Vegas Raiders + Arizona Cardinals (-105)
We just made our point for Vegas, so let’s make one for the birds just to the south. Kyler Murray is off to an incredible start so far this season, and I expect him to light up the Jacksonville Jaguars this coming weekend.
Led by offensive mastermind, head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals have shown improvement ever since both Kliff and Kyler came to town. You have to love the pairing, so we know they can throw the ball all over the field but what else can this team do?
Overall, they are averaging 1.6 more yards per play than their opponents. That's pretty solid. Arizona isn't a run-first team at all, but they have been able to move the ball on the ground fairly effectively thus far in 2021.
The Jags, though...They haven’t been able to defend the pass at all, allowing 8.8 yards per attempt, and all signs point towards a heck of a day from Kyler Murray.
Just as the Cards are +1.6 in yards per play over their opponents, the Jags are -1.1. We only need the moneyline here for our 2-leg parlay, so I will rest my case there.
Pick: Arizona and Las Vegas
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams (Pick’em, 54.5)
For our final picks, I wanted to attack a pick’em early this week, because, win or lose, I know we will at least be ahead and on the right side of the line movement.
This is, of course, a play on the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at a pick’em line for the small price of (-115). They are expecting a close game. So, who do you want your money on?
Do we really need to complicate this play? I know that LA will be at home, but it’s LA. Nobody cares about football.
The Rams, though, are literally averaging a first down every time they throw the football.
That 10.4 yards per pass attempt is a stat that in all likelihood won't hold up but it is still quite impressive when you think that the Bucs, the champs, with Tom Brady are "down" at 7.4. That is still a respectable number and wins are wins.
That being said, both teams are 2-0. They both like to air it out. This one is going to come down to who can get the stops when it counts. The Rams are allowing just less than 6 yards per pass attempt, while the Bucs are allowing about 6.4.
The gap we are looking for comes in the form of rush defense. With Tampa at the top of the league, allowing just 3.0 yards even per opponents’ rush attempt, the LA Rams are giving up 4.7.
The Rams aren't a running first team at all, but I like the Bucs' strength here in run-stopping power to edge them by a couple of points in the end. That and Tom Brady showing out for all his Hollywood elite homies.
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